It is essential that storytelling begins early in the life of a project and be woven into every aspect of the innovation effort. It has been common practice for design teams to bring writers in at the end to document a project once it has been completed. Increasingly they are building them into the design team from day one to help move the story along in real time.”Tim Brown, Change by Design. Quoted in The Power of Stories in Building Empathy | Interaction Design Foundation 

Storytelling as Method in Design Innovation

Helping postgrads transform research into a compelling narrative.

This programme grew out of my work with Glasgow University's Design School in 2015 when I co-produced the Seannachies project. That project explored aging in Glasgow and resulted in a conference as well as a performance by artist Donna Rutherford, using the ancient tale "Stone Soup" to present her research. Not only was it a theatrical success but it also helped raise the public profile of the challenges of aging including loneliness and isolation. It taught us that storytelling could be a powerful method in design innovation. That project led to the current course, "Storytelling as Method in Design Innovation", taught by Dr. Michael Williams

If you are interested in booking this 5-week course for your students, contact Dr. Williams at

Course outline: (6 hours)

Dr. Marianne McAra, Glasgow School of Art

"Since 2019, Michael has facilitated his ‘Storytelling as Method’ 5-week workshop series with the Master of Research cohort at The Glasgow School of Art. Complementary to the other research training provided on this programme, Michael’s workshop series provides our students with sessions that provoke deeper understanding and engagement with forms of story-making and story-telling in their research, which invites a deeper connection with reflective research practice. We have found this to enrich the focus of positionality and reflexivity in their projects, as well as the development of transferrable skills such as the development of their academic voice, in their thesis writing, and ways of ethically engaging with participants in their inquiries. Michael’s style of facilitation fosters safe spaces for students to explore and test out their ideas and verbally share stories within a group setting that elicits a culture of respect, mindfulness and mutual learning. Michael also provides variety for our students by providing opportunities for one-to-one tutorials for students to dig deeper on ways to apply story-telling techniques within their context-specific projects." Dr. Marianne McAra, Innovation School, University of Glasgow